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Heritage in Action: Industrial heritage in sovereignty conflicts
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science and Technology (name changed 20120201). (Assessing Arctic Futures)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6461-7734
2012 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The objective of this paper is to analyze the role of cultural heritage in international disputes over polar areas, through the lens of heritage sites in the Arctic and Antarctic.

Over the last centuries, entrepreneurs and states have competed for control over territories and resources in the Arctic and Antarctic. Previous research has analyzed this struggle on different arenas – in diplomacy and in the Polar landscapes, where scientific research and resource utilization has served as bases for claims to political influence or exclusive extraction rights. Less is known about the role of the historical remains of these activities, in current sovereignty controversies in the Arctic and Antarctic. What is the role of heritage sites in the competition for influence and resources in the Polar Regions?

The paper analyzes industrial heritage sites in two contested areas in the Polar Regions – the Antarctic Peninsula and South Georgia in the Antarctic, and Svalbard in the Arctic – sites remaining from large scale whaling and mining in the 20th century. The analysis is based on extensive industrial archaeological field research conducted in the Arctic and Antarctic within the framework of the International Polar Year project LASHIPA (Large Scale Historical Exploitation of Polar Areas).

The cases analyzed shows that industry heritage sites have been used in the struggle between the main competitors for sovereignty in those regions, through practical re-use, by narration and through heritage management. The results show that industrial heritage sites in the Polar Regions can play a significant role in competitions for political influence and resources there. By enrolling the heritage sites into actor networks, competing stakeholders populate sparsely populated places with allied actors and actants. In these networks, the heritage sites can play different roles, defending national prestige, attracting tourists, creating a sense connectedness to distant polar places, as well as legitimizing claims for influence over territories and natural resources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Arctic, Antarctic, Use of history, Heritage, Museums, Natural resources, Geopolitics
National Category
History History of Technology Archaeology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-113345OAI: diva2:587718
TICCIH congress Post-colonialism & Reinterpretation of Industrial Heritage, Taipei, Taiwan
Assessing Arctic Futures : Voices, Resources and Governance
Mistra - The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research

QC 20130614

Available from: 2013-01-15 Created: 2013-01-15 Last updated: 2016-02-25Bibliographically approved

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